THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 3-7-10
LESSON TITLE: “EXCEEDINGLY GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES: I WILL COME AGAIN TO RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF”
Isn’t it great to know God and to have the privilege of gathering together and praising His name on this wondrous Lord’s Day? Thanks for joining us on this special day. We are so happy to have you this morning for this time of offering to God. How blessed we are in this country to have the freedom to assemble this day and to give this time to our Creator. It is my hope and prayer that we will each do our part to make this time of worship acceptable in God’s sight and according to His Will!
Now as we begin to focus our thoughts on God, will you bow with me before His throne in prayer?
As always, it is our privilege on this program to praise God together in song! So let me encourage you to join in with the congregation at this time as we lift our voices up in the first song of the morning. The name of the hymn, “Is Thy Heart Right With God?”
(SONG # 1)
One of the great privileges we have through Jesus Christ is our ability to repent of those things which are contrary to His Will. We all know that Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His own blood so that we might be cleansed! Completely forgiven of those things which we have done and do, if we are willing to have a penitent attitude and ask our God for forgiveness.
However, what I want to explore for just a moment this morning is our part in repentance. I think we all know that God has done His part through the great sacrifice of His Son, but what about our part. Well, in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul spoke of a “godly sorrow,” which produces repentance! Did you catch that? When we are moved to sorrow with the knowledge that we have broken God’s Will it should cause us to desire to repent and get ourselves right with our God!
Another important verse in our understanding of this spiritual concept in found in Acts 26:20. There they were told that, “…they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” Here we learn that repentance is not just an idea or a concept to consider or think about, but it is actually a work. We must do the works of repentance, which means we acknowledge the wrong, ask forgiveness, and determine to never do it again.
I think this is exactly what David was thinking about in Psalm 51:9-11 when he requested that God, “Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence.” I love this request of David, “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God!”
Isn’t that what each and everyone of us want in this life? To be found as pure, holy, and truly acceptable before our Lord. As those who are willing to turn and flee from sin and focus on His glorious and saving truth. Do you have the penitent attitude that God requires of His followers? Or possibly, you need to repent for the first time today and obey the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Will you give us the world and it’s lust for Jesus?
Our study of the morning will again focus on “God’s Exceedingly Great And Precious Promises” As far as the specific message of the day; we will consider Jesus promise, “I Will Come Again To Receive You Unto Myself.” So please stay with us and after our next song, we will be leading us in this study from God’s Word.
This morning we are happy to have brother Kevin Patterson with us to lead us in this study from God Word. Brother Kevin is the minister for the HWY 13 Church of Christ in Bolivar, Missouri. We thank this good brother for being with us this day. Now let’s join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, “Jesus Calls Us.”
(SONG # 2)
By Kevin Patterson
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
Years ago when I was a little bitty boy that was the very first memory verse I ever learned. I remember learning it at the edge of the fireplace at our home in Paris, Texas. Well a few years later my parents moved to Henderson, Tennessee where my Dad preached with a church of Christ there in Henderson and it was when I was about 11 or 12 years old that I was in the fifth or sixth grade and I was at my Bible class at the church building and I remember learning another very important passage of scripture: John chapter 14 verses 1-3 where Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled. If you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, there you may be also.”
Over the past several weeks we have been taking a look at a theme entitled “Exceedingly Great and Precious Promises.” These are so many great and precious promises from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and we find here in this passage of scripture from John chapter 14 in the first three verses. One of those great promises that Jesus will come again and receive us, receive the righteous unto Himself.
I want us to take a look this morning at this passage of scripture and see what it is that we can learn from these words from the Christ.
In John 14 and verse 1 we read that Jesus starts off by saying to His disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled.”
It was just a few verses before in John 13 verse 33 that Jesus said, “Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me, and as I said to the Jews, where I am going you cannot come, so now I say to you.”
He would say in just three verses later in verse 36 where Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are you going?” and Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me, but you shall follow Me afterward.”
We see Jesus having this conversation with His disciples toward the end of His life, soon before He would be crucified on the cross. It is in John 16 as we get even closer to that account in verses 5 and 6 where Jesus said, “Now I go away to Him who sent Me and none of you ask Me, ‘Where are you going?’, but because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.”
You know Jesus’ disciples had been with Him for His three to three and a half year ministry. Many of them had been very close to Him. Some perhaps even closer than others. Not just friends with Him, but the best of friends with Him. So for Him to announce that He was leaving them no doubt made their hearts sad. But He said, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me.” In other words, if you have faith, if you have confidence, if you have trust in the Father, do the same with Me.
Where did He say He would go? In John 14 and verse 2, Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would go to prepare a place for you.”
Isaiah chapter 66 and verse 1 teaches us that the Lord’s abode where He lives is a place called Heaven. We read, “Thus says the Lord, Heaven is My throne and earth is my footstool.”
You might even remember in Matthew chapter 3 verses 16-17 when Jesus was being baptized by John the baptizer in the River Jordan that the Holy Spirit descended like as a dove and as Jesus was being baptized a voice from Heaven said, “Behold this is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
Jesus said that He was going to prepare a place for us. That’s one of those great passages of scripture to me because I compare it to the creation of the world. In Genesis chapter 1 and verse 1 we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” We recognize that passage of scripture. We are all perhaps familiar with how long it took Him to do that.
In Exodus 20 and verse 11 we read, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them and rested the seventh day.” We see that it took Him six days to create the universe, and yet Jesus has been gone from the earth for nearly 2000 years. How incredible heaven must be. What a wonderful place is awaiting us if we will live for Him someday.
But Jesus did in fact go to heaven. Some people question where He went. Some people say, “Well He simply went to the king and there He has remained ever since.” Some people say that he went someplace else and descended and then ascended. The Bible teaches very clearly that when Jesus ascended, He ascended into heaven. When Jesus died, He was buried and rose again and after some 4o days with His disciples He would ascend. The Bible teaches in many passages of scripture that He went to the abode of the Father to His original home from eternity to eternity.
Mark 16 and verse 19 says that, “Jesus was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.”
Luke 24 and verse 51 teaches that, “He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.”
One of the great passages of scripture in the early verses of the book of Acts as Jesus finished those 40 days with His disciples, we read that, “When He had spoken these things, while they watched He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight. While they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’” That is Acts chapter 1 verses 9-11.
The apostle Paul would also tell the Christians at Rome in Romans chapter 8 and verse 34 that, “Jesus is at the right hand of God who also makes intercession for us.”
We would read in his letter to the church at Ephesus in Ephesians 1 verses 19-21, “And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at the right hand in the heavenly places far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come.”
We talk a lot about the first martyr recorded in scripture in the New Testament. We read in Acts chapter 7 about Stephen as he preached a great sermon to people who did not want to hear what he had to say concerning the truth. The end result to that was that they stoned him to death. In verses 55 and 56 of that same chapter we read that he, talking about Stephen, “Being full of the Holy Spirit gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’”
The Hebrews writer records for us in Hebrews chapter 8 and verse 1 that, “We have such a High Priest who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.”
The apostle Peter also wrote in 1 Peter 3:21-22 that, “Jesus had ascended into heaven. He had gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God. Angels and authorities in power having been made subject to Him.”
It is very clear. There is abundant evidence. Too numerous scripture to tell that declares very clearly that Jesus is in His Father’s home, that Jesus is in heaven preparing a place for us.
Well let’s take a look at that verse of scripture, John chapter 14 and verse 3, that last passage that reads, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, but where I am, there you may be also.”
In 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and verse 16-17 we read, The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God and that the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
Jesus is in heaven but He will come again and when He comes again there is an order to things. The Bible teaches that those who are dead in Christ will be the first ones to rise. Those who have passed on, those who have long since been buried and perhaps even turned to dust; they will in some way rise again.
There is a rather lengthy passage of scripture that I would encourage you to read sometime from 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verses 35-53 that describes the idea that our physical bodies cannot inherit the kingdom of God. My physical flesh will not go into heaven as it is. It will be changed. It will be transformed into a spiritual body that can dwell in that spiritual home. Of course we see what a great reward that will be for the righteous who have lived their lives for Him and are rewarded by Jesus when He comes again.
But I want to remind you that Matthew chapter 25 and verse 46 not only teaches us that the righteous will go into eternal life, but it also teaches us that the unrighteous will go away into everlasting punishment. When Jesus comes again we have to recognize that those who have not lived accordingly, those who have not tried to live godly and pure lives, those who have not tried to please God with how they have lived will also receive something but it would not be what I would characterize as a reward. No, in fact it would be punishment.
Consider what Paul said to the church at Thessalonica in 2 Thessalonians 1 verses 6-9. He said, “Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed in heaven with His mighty angels and flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”
So which one will we be? Which one will I be? Which one will you be? Will we be the righteous or will we be the unrighteous? Will we be the ones who inherit that eternal home in heaven with our God, with our Lord and our Savior and our Holy Spirit? Who will we live with? Will we live sinful lives? Will we be punished in the end? Will we live in a devil’s Hell for all of eternity? You see the question is up to us. The answer is one that only we can give because Matthew chapter 25 verses 1-13 teaches us one of the parables of Jesus where He said that “There were five wise virgins and five foolish virgins and the five wise virgins came prepared to wait for the bridegroom who would come, but the five foolish virgins did not come prepared and in the end when the five virgins who were ready for the bridegroom to come, when they were allowed entrance into the party, the five who were not found themselves locked out.” We hear these words at the very end of that passage of scripture: “Assuredly I say to you,” talking about the unwise, “I do not know you. Watch therefore for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
Paul said in Colossians chapter 3 verses 23-25, “Whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance for you served the Lord Christ, but he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done and there is no partiality.”
We can either receive a reward or we can receive a punishment. But the choice is up to us.
I am reminded of a fictional story about Satan and three angels. Satan gave these three angels the task of going into the world over the course of a week and gaining as many souls for him as they could. So he sent them out and after the week was over, he called them back into his presence and he said to the first one, “How many souls did you get for me?”
He said, “I got for you three souls.”
Satan looked at him and said, “Well that’s not as many as I would have liked, but that is three more than I had this morning. Good job.”
He said to the second one, “How many souls did you get for me?”
The second one said, “Satan, I got you ten souls.”
Satan said, “That’s good. That’s three times more than the last one and that’s more than one per day over that seven day period of time. Very good job! I am very pleased.”
He said to the third angel, “How many souls did you get for me?”
The angel plopped down a book as big as the Dallas phone book and he said, “I got you all those names.”
Satan was absolutely amazed. He said, “How in the world did you get so many? How did you obtain so many souls in such a short period of time?”
The angel said, “Very simple. I told them that they had all the time in the world.”
Jesus Christ will most assuredly come again. The question is: Will you be prepared? Don’t we want to hear Him say that He will receive us unto Himself? If so, then we need to live our lives for Him. We need to be ready. We need to live as servants of the Lord each and every day so that we can please Him in the very best way possible. May God bless you as you prepare.
(SONG # 3 - “It Is Well With My Soul!”)
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today? I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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Isn’t it great to know that God is coming again to take us home some day? May we all live today and everyday, in such a way as to secure our eternal home in Heaven! Will you put God first?